SINGAPORE - With the final edition of the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global fast approaching, former WTA World No.1 singles and doubles player Martina Hingis arrived in Singapore on Friday to kick off the tournament’s 50-day countdown with a series of promotional activities and attend the premiere of the WTA Finals documentary GAME. SET. SINGAPORE. at School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA).
Hingis, who won the 2015 WTA Finals doubles title with Sania Mirza in Singapore, spent the afternoon leading an ActiveSG Tennis Academy Coaching Clinic at Heartbeat@Bedok attended by 15 Team Singapore athletes and 20 ActiveSG Tennis Academy Youth Development players.
The Swiss legend took the junior players through warm-up and training drills she used during her illustrious and record-breaking career, such as becoming the youngest WTA World No.1 in singles, as well as winning five Grand Slam singles titles and thirteen Grand Slam women’s doubles titles.
Following the clinic, Hingis attended the premiere of the newly produced GAME. SET. SINGAPORE. documentary, which looks at the legacy the WTA Finals Singapore has left behind on local and regional communities over the past four years.
After her clinic, Hingis said during a Q&A session with participants: “I have been to Singapore several times now, and it is great to be back in a different position this time, not as a player, but more as a mentor. I hope that what I shared today will help to motivate and inspire the next generation of players in Singapore to keep working hard at their game.”
Hingis, who announced her retirement on-court in Singapore last year, said the country has benefited greatly from hosting a marquee tennis event such as the WTA Finals.
“It is because of events like the WTA Finals that we get to travel to amazing cities like Singapore,” she said. “I am very proud to have made it here several times, and I always have such a great experience, whether it is on or off the court. Singapore has done a wonderful job hosting the biggest event on the WTA Tour, and everyone here should be very happy with what they have achieved and contributed to tennis.”
The final edition of the WTA Finals in Singapore aims to leave a mark for the sport within the community and region, with more concerts and community outreach programmes lined up to appeal to fans and sports and entertainment lovers alike.
This year will include two concerts held in conjunction with the WTA Finals. On 20 October, Hong Kong-Taiwanese singer Wakin Chau will headline WAU Live 2018, with local Jazz songbird Joanna Dong and duo ShiLi & Adi supporting. On 27 October, Grammy Award winner Jason Mraz will perform at the National Stadium for the only Asia stop for Good Vibes by Jason Mraz tour.
The entire month of October will also see an island-wide celebration of tennis as the Singapore Tennis Festival (STF), led by ActiveSG, returns to offer opportunities for people from all walks of life to experience and develop an appreciation for tennis through grassroots activities like carnivals, competitions, clinics and try-outs.
Meanwhile, this year’s satellite festival village will be located along the waterfront at Marina Bay Sands. ‘Courtside by the Bay’ will feature the doubles draw ceremony on Tuesday, 23 October, tennis-themed activities, live music programmes and delectable F&B offerings.
Building on the community engagement legacy, Judy Murray, mother of Olympic gold medalist and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, will be conducting a COME PLAY! session with local students and teachers on Saturday, 20 October as part of WTA Charities Community Day. This will be followed by the semi-finals of the WTA Future Stars tournament where it will be free entry to members of the public at the OCBC Arena.
Melissa Pine, Vice President of WTA Asia-Pacific and Tournament Director of the WTA Finals, said, “We are excited to bring fans a grand finale that they will not forget as we head into the home stretch to the last edition of the WTA Finals Singapore. What an incredible home Singapore has been for the WTA Finals, raising the bar and taking the event to the next level. The support for women’s tennis has grown so much since we first arrived here and we look forward to a wonderful celebration with all our fans in Singapore this October.”
Another charity initiative led by event organiser and promoter Lagardère Sports includes Advantage Singapore: The Final Serve, an initiative dedicated to community engagement that started in 2015. The final edition will see a dollar from every ticket sold and $10 from the sale of every Racquet Club pass go towards SportCares, to help local youths from vulnerable backgrounds lead a healthier lifestyle, and live better through sports.
In addition, a silent auction will also be held at the Racquet Club during the event where guests can bid for racquets autographed by Billie Jean King and past singles winners of the WTA Finals in Singapore including Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Dominika Cibulkova and Caroline Wozniacki.
With this swansong, Sarah Clements, Vice-President of Tennis, Asia, Lagardère Sports said she hopes the efforts taken by organisers, sponsors, partners and volunteers over the last five years will leave a lasting legacy not just for women’s tennis in Asia, but for Singapore’s sports and communities.
“We’ve come a long way since putting Singapore on the global tennis map. I can say that it was a sheer delight seeing everyone, from ushers to sponsors, give their all and show how this country can host a global event with such grace and enthusiasm,” said Ms Clements.
She added: “But more importantly, it is heartening to see how those, from heartlanders to students and teachers, who would have otherwise never had an opportunity with the game now be introduced to the sport and give back to the community. These are the legacies that we can all be proud of.”